There are two types of child custody: physical custody and legal custody. Some parents focus on physical custody when they go through separations and divorces because physical custody revolves around where a child will live. A parent who has physical custody of their child is charged with providing for that child's day-to-day needs. Parents can share physical custody, or it may be given to just one of a child's parents.
Legal custody, on the other hand, has to do with who can make decisions about and for a child. A parent who has legal custody may decide or be involved in the decision of where their child will go to school. If a parent has legal custody, they can advocate for a child's involvement (or lack thereof) in a religious practice. When major child rearing issues are in question, parents with legal custody can have a voice in how they are resolved.
The loss of legal custody of one's child means losing these important parental rights. It is often the case that after a divorce, parents will share legal custody of their kids, but as with all legal matters, different outcomes can result from different cases. Courts charged, with determining the legal and physical custody of kids generally must seek to protect their best interests when making important assessments and decisions.
The information contained in this post is offered to readers as information only. In the event that Virginia residents have questions about its contents or the subject matter, they are encouraged to contact their trusted family law and divorce attorneys for case-specific advice. Child custody issues can be emotionally difficult and legally complex, and, for those reasons, individual guidance is important for those with related problems.